If you have not already, you can put these small steps into practice to start off your student’s school year off with ease.
Now is the time to set expectations provide support and open up lines of communication for a positive beginning to the school year.
Clean out Bookbags and Lunch Boxes
This step always seems to sneak up on families because the end of school years can feel like a whirlwind. Making sure you have cleaned out book bags and lunch boxes can help you avoid a very gross surprise of old food or clothes stashed away for weeks. Cleaning will also allow you to take inventory of what school supplies you have as a family and are in need of. Many can be used year after year and remain in great condition.
Inventory Supplies Needed and Look up Supply Lists
Once you have cleaned out lunch boxes and book bags it’s important to see what supplies you have in good working condition. Most schools have supply lists for the upcoming year posted on their website or at local stores. As a family we like to get the basics listed like binders folders colored pencils pencil pouches and notebooks. Typically on Meet The Teacher nights more specific lists are handed out but by getting basics we try to avoid going to a store where supplies may be sold out. Many schools also partner with companies that will put together “back to school supply boxes” at a discounted rate for families who would like to go that route.
Review School and Extracurricular Schedules
This is a great time to take out your calendar and emails to review what a typical Monday through Friday week will look like. Make sure that if your school requires you to sign up for transportation you do so now to avoid having to do this last minute or go without school provided transportation. This is also a great time to set up carpools with families who have similar extracurricular schedules and sports interests. Setting up a carpool can help reduce the amount of time spent driving between activities and give kids time with friends.
Set Expectations and Positive intentions
This is a great time of year to set expectations and help to model home expectations to have a successful school year. It will take a little effort upfront that will pay off in having a family open in communication and supporting one anothers goals. The beginning of the school year is a great time to set positive intentions. For your students it may be more independence, making new friends, trying a new sport, and maintaining good grades. For you, it may be remaining positive and having open communication with your child’s school. Setting a positive intention is a great way to start off a memorable school year. Also reaching out to your child’s teachers opens the lines of communications that you all are on the same team and you’re open to discussions. As a teacher I have always appreciated this from parents and as a parent I always send an email to let my children’s teachers know that we are thankful for the work they do and happy to help if help is ever needed.
Check the school website and PTA site for Important dates
Lastly, as your back to school assignment please look up your school’s PTA (Parent and Teacher Association) website and familiarize yourself with the dates and links. While it can be difficult to make school events, making time to read the minutes provides your child’s school community with another positive supporting member. If you are on social media joining any groups of pages will be helpful in giving you up to date information. The majority of the schools have information dates and links posted on multiple platforms. Make sure you join them and are an active member in the community.
My hope is for these few ideas to help set your family up for an amazing school year. Also they are not one size fits all so take what you need and adjust for your family and school dynamic. Best wishes on the 2023-2024 school year.
Jessica Stallings MA Ed. is a veteran teacher and tech writer. She is a National Board Certified Educator who values teaching the whole child and enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her favorite thing as an educator is to watch how technology motivates all different types of learners of varying ability levels. She hopes to empower learners and families to use technology to help connect them to and learn more about the beautiful world we live in. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she loves to spend time on the North Carolina coast with her family and dog, Fletcher.